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How to Buy Ark (ARK): Quick Guide
DISCLAIMER: None of the following is intended to be investment advice. This is only meant to be a description of what has worked well for me so far, and my own opinions. Also, full disclosure, my links to Coinbase and Binance include referrals. It actually benefits you to use them because we will both get an extra $10 worth of BTC for free if you deposit at least $100 to Coinbase. Thanks in advance if you follow the links when you make your accounts — and even if you don’t, I hope this guide helps you out!
This guide will teach you how to buy ARK from square one (i.e., all you have is fiat money, no cryptos). Most of this is applicable to other cryptocurrencies, but some isn’t — for example, I will also teach you how to use the ARK wallet to vote for a delegate and receive “interest” or “dividends” on your ARK. Since this is an ARK-centric text, I am going to write a quick foreword about it and then we’ll get right into the meat of the guide.
A Little About ARK — Why Buy?
There is a massive subset of people who are new to the crypto-space entirely but have only heard of Bitcoin. Then they go online and they search around and figure out there are actually many, many cryptocurrencies out there with many different use cases. When it comes to the Ark Ecosystem, the use cases are as fascinating as they are ambitious.
Since this article is about the coin itself (ARK), I am going to focus on the benefits of the coin rather than the Ark Ecosystem. Regarding the Ark Ecosystem, I will just say that the ideas (such as its custom SmartBridge functionality) are very interesting to me and I will probably write extensively about them in the future — for now, it’s out of the scope of this discussion.
ARK is a “Delegated” Proof of Stake coin. This means there is no mining in the traditional sense — there is no Proof of Work algorithm to generate new coins, and therefore no centralized mining consortium draining massive amounts of power into ASICs in order to earn coins. New ARK tokens are instead “forged” by the 51 top ranked active “delegates” (more on this later).
Let’s take a look at the price math for ARK. At the time of this writing, Ark is listed in the 36th place on coinmarketcap with a market capitalization of $568,814,667 and a circulating supply of 97,981,284 ARK. It costs $5.81 per ARK, and this seems to be rising quickly — when I started writing this article, it was at least fifty cents cheaper. I don’t like to focus on numbers too much because it tends to put people to sleep, but if ARK had the market capitalization of IOTA (the 7th ranked coin on coinmarketcap right now), it would be worth about $102 dollars. That’s over 15 times the current price. From a purely speculative standpoint, ARK seems like an excellent buy to me.
The price math in the previous paragraph is muddled a little bit by the fact that ARK, like Ethereum, is technically unlimited on a long enough timeline. This makes the currency inflationary by default. However, it is possible for inflationary cryptocurrencies to be highly successful — Ethereum, for example, currently has the second highest market capitalization of any coin and is now worth over $700 per coin. Additionally, the inherent inflation of ARK is offset by its delegates system.
Delegates System — Earning Interest on ARK
ARK offers far more than fuel for speculation. As always, when I invest in a coin I’m never looking to make a quick buck off a pump and dump — I want a coin whose price is low AND offers useful technology. If your coin solves a particular problem better than (or as well as) any other coin on the market, it’s only a matter of time until its true value is noticed by the market. ARK itself offers some fascinating, unique benefits as a currency.
ARK is one of the only coins where you can earn interest like an old-financial-world savings account. While nobody seems to be calling it “interest” on Ark’s official site, that’s basically what it is. All you have to do is “vote” for one of the 51 top-ranked, active delegates, and they will divvy out a portion of the “forged” rewards to you on a regular basis. The amount varies from delegate to delegate, but at this time seems to hover around 10% per annum. So, if you hold 1000 ARK for a year, you might end up with a total of 1100 ARK by the next year. Cool, huh? I will give more details on how to “vote” in the wallet section of this article.
In the end, whether you are simply speculating or are truly excited about the promises of the Ark Ecosystem, you need to know how to buy this coin. I’m here to help.
Buying ARK: Basic Strategy
To date I’ve had no problems with the following basic strategy:
- Create and sign into a Coinbase account. I recommend Coinbase because they are the most straightforward exchange.
- Purchase some ETH. At the time of this writing, this currency transfers the fastest and cheapest out of anything Coinbase offers. Litecoin competes here, but will cause hiccups later in the process — more on that later.
- Create and sign in to a Binance account. I recommend Binance because they have been reliable and convenient for me and they offer many different lesser-known cryptocurrencies with trading pairs on both ETH and BTC. An added bonus is that you can withdraw up to 2 BTC/day worth of funds with no verification at all.
- Move your ETH to Binance. Once it has confirmed, you can now easily use the ETH/ARK trading pair to buy as much or as little ARK as you want. More on trading pairs later.
- Send your coins from Binance to a safe ARK wallet for long-term storage if you intend to hold for awhile. This is not strictly necessary but it is considered a safer option than keeping ANY coin on ANY exchange long term. Furthermore, as stated previously, ARK stands out among other coins in that it will reward you with a sort of “interest” for holding. The actual process will be described in more detail later, but know now that you will not be able to earn any interest on your ARK if you keep it on an exchange. Thus, you are doubly motivated to move your ARK into a wallet. By the way, for those interested in high-security hardware wallets: ARK is supported by the Ledger Nano S.
- Vote for your delegate.
Now, if you’re a power user or someone with some existing familiarity with cryptocurrency, you can probably stop here or skip to the ARK wallet and voting sections at the end. The rest of this guide is just going to be a more in-depth description of the preceding steps. If you’re completely new to cryptocurrencies, you might be a little lost — that’s fine! You won’t be by the time you finish this guide. I’ll go step by step:
Starting Out On Coinbase
This is arguably the most trusted exchange currently on the market. You can think of them as the PayPal of the cryptocurrency world, with all the good and bad connotations that come along with that. There are some countries where this is not the case! For example, in Canada, one would probably want to use QuadrigaCX instead. Unfortunately, that’s outside the scope of this guide, but I do have a country-by-country guide which may help you if Coinbase doesn’t work in your area.
All you have to do here is go to Coinbase’s website and create an account. Security is incredibly important here — remember, in cryptocurrencies you are your own bank and so it is absolutely crucial that you follow good security practices. This means your password should be strong — and it should be a password you aren’t using anywhere else (including other exchanges). Google has a pretty good guide with some tips on choosing strong passwords. Keeping security in mind, it would also behoove you to turn on two-factor authentication once your account is created.
Once you are up and running there are a number of options when it comes to actually paying for coins via Coinbase. It is possible to link your bank account to Coinbase but actually transferring coins out of Coinbase will be impossible for a few days while the funds are clearing. This is obviously not ideal if you want to move quickly, as you would now have to wait several days to move your coins to an exchange where you can trade them for ARK (or any other coin).
Instead, I would recommend you link a credit or debit card to Coinbase. This will allow you to purchase some amount of coins immediately, and then immediately send them off wherever you want — your wallet, another exchange, etc. At the time of this writing Coinbase offers three coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).
What to Buy First?
In my opinion if you intend to buy lesser-known coins like ARK, ETH is the best choice to buy here. Why? Well, with regards to LTC, the reason is clear: other exchanges like Binance offer direct trading pairs for BTC and ETH, but not LTC or any other currency. What this means is that you could directly exchange your ETH for ARK, or your BTC for ARK, but you’d have to perform another step if you wanted to trade your LTC for ARK (and that means more fees!). Obviously we don’t want to waste even one cent if we can avoid it, so LTC is out.
With regards to BTC, at the time of this writing there have been a lot of rumblings about high transaction fees, slow transaction times, etc. Exchanges often overpay these fees as well, and that means that you are again risking missing out on more money than you need to.
ETH is therefore currently the best choice for our purposes by default — fastest transaction speed, lowest transaction cost. So, to review: create a Coinbase account, link your credit or debit card, and purchase ETH.
I Bought ETH: What Now?
Now is the time for you to make your Binance account. Follow the link and create an account using a strong password (this should be different than the one you used for Coinbase!). There are other places where you may be able to buy ARK (Changelly, Kraken, EtherDelta, HitBTC, KuCoin, etc.). I cannot directly recommend most of these exchanges as I don’t have much experience with them at this point — however, I can say that I have used HitBTC and KuCoin and they have worked well for me. This guide focuses on Binance because my experience there has been 100% positive — I have transferred coins in and out of their system many times with no problems.
After your Binance account is made, click “Funds” at the top right, then “Deposits Withdrawals” beneath it. Find Ethereum in the list and click the “Deposit” button on the far right. You should end up with something that looks like this:
Unlike the picture, there will be an “ETH Deposit Address” listed in the box at the bottom left. This is a very long series of letters and numbers, and is the fundamental basis of most if not all cryptocurrencies. An “address” is simply the destination for funds — think of it like the account and routing numbers at the bottom of your checks. For many cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin it is possible to have multiple “receiving addresses” which point towards the same wallet.
The address listed here is Binance’s “receiving address” for your Ethereum. To the right of it is a “copy address” button — use it to put the address into your copy/paste buffer. Then, in your Coinbase account, navigate to the Accounts tab and then to your ETH Wallet. Paste in your address. You should double check that the pasted address is the same one you saw on the deposits page in Binance — you can never be too sure when it comes to security! Once you’re sure you’re sending to the right place, input the amount of ETH you’d like to send (if you just want to buy some ARK, you should send all of it) and click “Send.”
Optional Trick: Using GDAX To Save Money On Fees
GDAX, or “The Global Digital Asset Exchange,” is the actual exchange which backs Coinbase. You can use it to save a lot of money on fees if you’re willing to spend a few extra minutes getting verified. Follow this link and click “DEPOSIT.” Click “Coinbase Account” at the top and deposit all your ETH from Coinbase into GDAX.
Once you’ve done this, you can click “WITHDRAW” in GDAX and send your funds from GDAX to Binance. Fees are significantly reduced with this method!
I Sent ETH to Binance — Now What?
Once you click Send, you will need to wait a little while. Without getting too technical about it, exchanges want to be as secure as possible. Thus, when you make a deposit, they wait for multiple “confirmations” from the network before allowing you access to your funds. You can view the progress in your Binance account by clicking Funds and then History. Do not be alarmed if nothing shows up at first! There are many reasons there might be a slight delay. In general you should see the transaction show up within a few minutes, with the current number of “confirmations” next to the number of required “confirmations” next to it. Be patient — your ARK is nearly in hand!
Once you have the required number of confirmations, it’s time to trade your ETH to ARK. This is blessedly simple. In the front page of Binance, click “ETH Markets”. Search for “ARK/ETH” in this list, and click it. Now you are on the trading page. In the bottom left under “Buy ARK”, click “100%” below the “Amount” field.
This indicates to Binance that you’d like to trade all of your ETH for a commensurate amount of ARK for no more than the price listed above. The price field is automatically listed based on the current market. If you like, you can change it to a different price, but like any market it’s not guaranteed that someone will buy at the price you’d like. Your order will remain open until it’s been fully filled or you cancel it. There are several options here such as Stop-Limit orders, etc., but this is outside the scope of this guide. In this case, you are simply placing a “Limit” order for some ARK.
I Placed My Order! Am I Done?
If you want to be done now, you can be — but there are more steps if you want to be security-conscious or earn interest on your ARK. You may want to check under the “Orders” and “Order History” tabs that the order went through — if you placed a Limit order at the default price, it probably did. Once you have your ARK in your Binance account, you can see them under “Funds” → “Deposits Withdrawals”. You can click “Hide 0 Balances” at the top to clean up the screen of coins you don’t own, and you can see an estimate of the overall converted BTC and USD value of your account at the top right.
For maximum security, I wouldn’t leave any coin in the exchange. I like and trust Binance, but ANY site can be hacked or experience downtime — even massively established trusted sites like PayPal. You want to have full control of your coins. With ARK, it’s especially important that you use a wallet — you want to maximize your holdings, right?
How Do I Move My Coins to a Private Wallet?
Let’s start by setting up your wallet. Now, normally I recommend Coinomi when possible for small-cap coins, but with ARK my opinion is that you should use one of the wallets on their site. For me, I used their desktop wallet, but they also offer the ability to create a paper wallet or even use their web wallet. This guide assumes you use the desktop wallet.
I am seriously impressed with Ark’s wallet. This is a relatively small-cap coin but I can tell the devs have their hearts in this project — the wallet is smooth, functional, and beautiful. It also works very well in Linux, which is a huge plus. I cannot speak to the MacOS or Windows versions of the wallet, but I will go out on a limb and say they are probably just as good. I did have one minor syncing error with the wallet — for about half an hour after receiving my first coins, the wallet read as empty and I couldn’t see the delegates list. As mysteriously as the issue appeared, it disappeared and never returned (and I have sent more coins to this wallet since then.) This was only a minor inconvenience.
Start by downloading the appropriate desktop wallet for your operating system. There will be an “arkclient” executable — run it. You should now have a screen with a login prompt that looks something like this:
Click the “CREATE ACCOUNT” button and follow the instructions that follow. Be sure you actually record the twelve word passphrase! For security purposes I suggest you physically write this down and keep it in a safe place— don’t save it on your computer somewhere. For all intents and purposes this passphrase is your wallet. If your computer literally explodes tomorrow, that passphrase is all you need to regain access to your wallet and your ARK. Likewise, if you let someone else have access to that passphrase, they have access to your ARK. Keep it safe!
Once your wallet is made, you’ll see a screen like the above. I’ve edited this slightly — in the blue box, you’ll see a QR code and in the red rectangle you will see your receiving address. This is a long line of numbers and letters which directs transactions into your wallet; if you want someone to send you ARK, they need this. It is just like the ETH address we used earlier, only a different format. If you click the address, you will conveniently place it into your copy and paste buffer. We’re now ready to tell Binance to send us our ARK.
QUICK NOTE: If you have any wallet issues that this guide doesn’t cover, I highly recommend you take a look at the FAQ provided on the official site. It is an excellent resource.
Actually Moving Your Coins
In Binance, go into the “Deposits & Withdrawals” tab, then click “Withdrawal” to the far right of the “ARK” row. By now it should be clear what you’re looking at — fields that let you input the address to send the coins to, and how many coins to send. Naturally, you’ll paste your ARK receiving address into the address field.
For your convenience, there is a “Max” button to the right of the Amount field. Note that once you click “Submit” you will need to use your two-factor authentication via Google Authenticator, an Android app. I recommend you do not use your actual day-to-day phone for this purpose. These days you can get a low-cost Android phone for around 30 dollars — this is an investment worth making for security purposes. You can keep the battery removed from the phone when you’re not using it, and connect it to a network only for cryptocurrency purposes. As a bonus, if you’d like, you can use this phone for the Coinomi wallet when dealing with other cryptocurrencies.
Time to Vote! A Final Note on Delegates
I am not going to tell you who to vote for. If you want to make a very well-informed choice, I suggest you start with the official ARK Delegate voting guide written by a Co-Founder of ARK.io. This will give you a ton of information on exactly how delegates work, and even tells you how to become a delegate yourself. You might then take a look at the ARK forums where delegates give specific information.
To vote, click the lime green “ADD DELEGATE” button in your Ark wallet, and click the “Active delegates (forging)” button. You can then choose a delegate from that list. Voting costs 1 ARK, and you never have to vote again unless you want to change your delegate.
No, Really, Who Do I Vote For?
Personally, I currently vote for biz_classic for several reasons. First, they offer an ARK faucet where one can solve a captcha to win a semi-random amount of free ARK every hour. If you’re a member of biz_classic and have at least 50 ARK in your wallet, your faucet reward is tripled. This is a fun diversion, but don’t expect to make a ton of money off it! Your real reward is “interest” or “dividends” you get from your stake in your delegate’s forging. In the case of biz_classic, you can make an account here and connect up your address. Once you’ve done that you can track what your pending payout is and how often you’d like to be paid out. Remember that there is a transaction fee with ARK, so most delegates require you to have a particular minimum pending payout amount before sending it to your wallet.
Be advised that the information here only scratches the surface on ARK and cryptocurrencies in general. I recommend you read as much as possible. Cryptocurrencies are the future, and if you’re reading this guide you are already lightyears ahead of the curve.
Come back soon because more content like this is always coming! If my work helped you or gave you something to think about, share it with others:
Sharing helps more people find my articles, and I’d love to be able to assist as many people as possible with cryptocurrencies. Also, if you have any ideas for future articles or specific questions, I’d love to hear them. Comments section coming soon! One last thing: if you’d like to chat with me in real time, check out my Discord!
Best of luck, and happy trading!
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